Former Altar Boys To Receive Compensation In Clergy Abuse Case

Associated Press/July 17, 2007

Tucson, Arizona -- As part of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles' $660 million clergy abuse settlement, five former altar boys from Tucson will each receive $1.5 million.

The five, all men in their 30's, said they were abused by the Rev. Kevin Barmasse while he served as a visiting priest from Los Angeles during the 1980's.

Barmasse led youth groups at St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Sierra Vista and at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church on the Northwest Side of Tucson after he'd been accused of child molestation in Los Angeles. Barmasse's name is on a list of 34 priests, deacons and other church personnel who have served in the local diocese since the 1950s and who have what the diocese deems "credible" accusations of sexual abuse against them.

Barmasse lives in the Los Angeles-area and is no longer allowed to minister as a priest. Barmasse was never criminally prosecuted for the abuse claims.

Barmasse could not be reached for comment.

Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas has said Barmasse should have never been allowed to minister here.

In 2003, Kicanas wrote a letter to parishioners. In it, Kicanas said the Tucson diocese accepted Barmasse for ministry with the understanding that he would get treatment related to an accusation of sexual misconduct with a minor.

Documents show Barmasse got treatment, and the professional who administered treatment to Barmasse believed he would be able to minister safely, yet urged caution.

Kicanas said Barmasse should not have been allowed to minister in Tucson or anywhere else, and that such an arrangement would not be allowed today.

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley says the $660 million settlement between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and more than 500 alleged victims of clergy abuse highlights "moral failure" of the church officials to supervise predatory priests.

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